Here we go – another day, another news story fussing about not very much. No sooner do we get rid of one shock-horror scandal, then another looms.
It’s getting to the stage where I can’t recall any time when there was not some hyped-up crisis or another – and this time everyone is getting rather worked up about evidence of horse and bits of other animals in what some suppliers are pleased to call beefburgers.
Big deal eh? Was anyone surprised? I always imagined a legal requirement for beefburgers to have a certain amount of beef among the chemicals and bulking agents – the best of them are around the 70 per cent mark, but the economy versions will be considerably less.
That leaves plenty of room for all manner of other substances, all designed to cater for consumers where price is the balancing factor. One thing is for sure, it takes a very well-educated palate to spot anything amiss in a low-buck burger – they are not designed to taste of much, which is why most consumers add mustard, ketchup or, if they are well prepared, some HP sauce, that magic potion capable of disguising the bad flavour of just about anything.
The main concern of most people will be the source of the non-beef meat content of the burgers. If it isn’t beef then we are entitled to suspect the alternative meat will be acquired from a dubious supplier who can be trusted to keep his trap shut, but that is not all.
There are a lot of people who avoid certain meats for religious, aesthetic or even sentimental reasons – discovering they have been covertly fed any food contravening their personal taboos is likely to generate a hostile reaction. Part of that reaction might just be a bit of finger-poking at suppliers, criticising their lax product-quality standards, perchance even a good reason to crank up a lawyer or two with compensation in mind.
There is little doubt the government must act quickly to restore public confidence and forestall any tendency for food riots. The unfettered right to choose what to eat, or more accurately what not to eat, is one of the few personal liberties left to us.
By confession I am not a fussy eater, but there are things I decline to consume. Horse meat is one of them, snails, frogs legs and tripe are three more, and is there room here to include jellied eels, rats, cats and snake meat? I am sure all these delicacies are perfectly OK when properly presented – its that I just don’t fancy them.
I am sure my recent epistle on rabbit pie will have made a few Souters cringe, and that’s just the way it should be, a right to operate any personal food scunner you choose to have.
In that vein, I have a feeling that in 2013 nobody is going to make a fortune operating a burger stall at a gymkhana. Ho hum, there’s always bacon butties I suppose, best of all a haggisburger, but given that the meat content of any burger is not dissimilar in appearance to that contained in sausage rolls, bridies, square sausage pieces or even that national treasure, the scotch pie, the revealed risk to public confidence might pose a real threat to our traditional way of life.
My goodness, Scotland could easily become a nation of thin people!
My first burger experience came after joining the army, although the specimen which landed on my proffered plate was deemed to be a rissole, arriving in a pool of lumpy and rapidly-congealing gravy. I was not too fazed at that because I was very hungry.
Time went by and I developed a taste for burgers, which remains to this day. Being something of a burger connoisseur, I now have my own code when it comes to burger indulgence.
A beefburger made from one of the generously-sized examples available in local butcher’s shops, cooked with onions and garlic from my own garden, contained in a wholemeal bun from the baker’s shop, is indeed a feast. And here’s a small tip designed to bring a little more pleasure to the burger experience – never make just one, it takes at least two burgers to do the trick.
A swift perusal of Dr Google’s fine website will reveal numerous recipes for making your own burger patties (note use of correct term for the meaty bit of a burger). As ever, some of the tellycookers revel in complicated recipes, adding all manner of unnecessary stuff which, apart from detracting from the main flavour, are time consuming, adding extra expense and kitchen mess. The basic burger recipe does me fine.
The bogus burger scandal arrived on the UK current affairs scene at a time when public humour was at a seasonal low.
There was a paucity of topical jokes about the exceedingly-unpleasant J. Savile Esq and his evil ways. The same conditions also apply to the Algerian hostage tragedy, or people falling off mountains, and quite rightly so.
But the mere mention of a public hoodwinked into consuming fake burgers rumoured to contain everything from horses to camel meat sparked off a deluge of jokes and riddles.
Given the libel laws and my lack of personal wealth, I will refrain from airing any at this time, but I must confess to finding the better examples extremely funny. Enjoy such humour where and when you encounter it – there is no better sign of good public morale than the ability to laugh at the misfortune of others, which in its own way is exactly what the horseburger scandal is all about.
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Weather for Selkirk
Thursday 20 June 2013
Temperature: 11 C to 20 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: South east
Temperature: 11 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: South